When Tyson Fury decisively stopped Deontay Wilder in Las Vegas in February to become WBC world Heavyweight champion, it would have been near enough unthinkable to think that weeks later a global pandemic would call a halt to the sporting world let alone the boxing schedule.
Whilst the small hall scene has suffered dramatically during a largely crowd less period, the major promoters have managed to replicate some sense of normality with several 50-50 match-ups, which have in turn produced some devastating knockouts.
Here are the proboxing-fans.com choices for the top five knockouts of the year
Alexander Povetkin’s fifth round KO of Dillian Whyte- August 2020.
Alexander Povetkin’s dramatic fifth round knockout over Dillian Whyte takes the top spot and was one of those moments where you remember where you were when the Brit was sent crashing to the canvas at Matchroom Headquarters in Brentwood.
Whyte risked his mandatory position to WBC champion, Tyson Fury to face the dangerous, former world title challenger, Povetkin in the finale of Matchroom Boxing’s four-night Fight Camp.
Whyte, 32, appeared in control and on the brink of a stoppage win himself after flooring the Russian in rounds three and four, however the 41-year-old rallied back in the fifth round, unleashing a devastating left uppercut which left Whyte out cold and his world title dreams dashed.
The few that were in attendance in Essex were left speechless, as Povetkin’s entourage celebrated an emphatic win in a stunning alteration to a booming Heavyweight division.
Gervonta Davis’ sixth round KO of Leo Santa Cruz- October 2020
Gervonta Davis could arguably awarded knockout of the year and with good reason.
The American took a step up against four-weight world champion, Leo Santa Cruz in their two belt clash in the first post-pandemic clash with a crowd at the Alamodome, Texas on October 31.
After a close five rounds of action, ‘Tank’ Davis displayed his brutal one-punch power to knock Santa Cruz out cold with a chilling left uppercut in round six.
The Mexican fortunately rose to his feet after a concerning period, as ‘Tank’ put in a frightening display on Halloween in front of promoter and recent Hall Of Fame inductee, Floyd Mayweather Jr.
The 26-year-old reclaimed the WBA ‘Super’ Super Featherweight crown to add to his WBA Lightweight title, to set up some mouthwatering clashes against the likes of unified Lightweight champion, Teofimo Lopez in 2021.
Jose Zepeda’s fifth round KO of Ivan Baranchyk- October 2020
It was no surprise when the coveted Ring Magazine announced Jose Zepeda’s gripping battle with Ivan Barancyk as fight of the year.
An eight knockdown thriller was finally settled with Zepeda climbing off the canvas to viciously halt the Ukrainian, with a monstrous left hook, which left the former world champion flat on his face.
A classic fight had a memorable ending and was described by Top Rank CEO, Bob Arum as one of the best fights he’d witnessed since George Foreman’s titanic battle with Ron Lyle in 1976, which was also awarded fight of the year by Ring Magazine.
One of the best fights I’ve seen since Foreman-Lyle. Plain and simple. #ZepedaBaranchyk
— Bob Arum (@BobArum) October 4, 2020
The finish alone has its own argument to be placed as knockout of the year.
Anthony Joshua’s ninth round KO of Kubrat Pulev- December 2020
After reclaiming his unified world Heavyweight titles by decision against Andy Ruiz Jr in Saudi Arabia in December, Anthony Joshua was expected to blow away Kubrat Pulev on his UK homecoming.
Joshua did not disappoint, showing versatility and improvements to his game to emphatically stop the Bulgarian in the ninth round in front of 1000 spectators at Wembley Arena, to put him at fourth in our list.
‘AJ’ was at his brutal best in the third round, with Pulev handed a standing count followed by a second count after he was sent to the canvas with an uppercut.
The 39-year-old showed all his toughness and heart to survive until the ninth round where again he was floored by a barrage of uppercuts, before a final right hand finally ended his resistance.
It was a statement win for Joshua who remains on course for a showdown with Tyson Fury in 2021.
Joe Smith Jr’s ninth round TKO of Eleider Alvarez- August 2020
Joe Smith Jr secured a huge win over Elder Alvarez and in some fashion to secure a WBO Light Heavyweight title shot.
It was announced last week that Smith Jr will kick off Top Rank’s 2021 USA schedule against Maxim Vlasov for the vacant crown on February 13, relinquished by Canelo Alvarez after his showreel knockout of Sergey Kovalev in November 2019.
’The Irish Bomber’ was largely dominant over dangerous former world champion, Alvarez in Las Vegas and decisively ended proceedings, landing a powerful right hand, which sent ’Storm’ stumbling, with a follow-up left hand sending him crashing through the ropes and unable to beat the count.